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Success Advice

The Art of Winning Friends and Building Bridges

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I have come across a few people in my life who are gems but they hardly communicate with others. They are hidden gems but fail to discover themselves and communicate with others due to their introversion. Generally, the people who talk more, write less while the people who talk less, write more; and the people who talk more, listen less while the people who talk less, listen more. Of course, we cannot judge people based on external appearance. In this regard, we will discuss the art and craft of starting a conversation, making friends, and building bridges.

When you meet someone, smile and introduce yourself. Extend your hand and say ‘Hi’. Identify one specific positive trait in the person and underscore it with authenticity. You gain trust and confidence from the person. Find out his/her interests and passions and start a conversation if you know those areas. If you don’t have any knowledge in that area, express your enthusiasm to learn from the person.  If the other person is not in the mood of starting any conversation, respect the person and leave the place coolly with a smile. 

Tips to make friends

When you want to grow in your life, you must ask. When you want to ask a favor from others, you must create conversation to build a rapport. Hence, understanding the psychology of the people and appreciating their behavior will help you connect with them instantly. Here are some tips for your arsenal to initiate conversation and make friends:

  • Be passionate about the people. 
  • Observe the body language of the person. If you find it positive, make eye contact, smile, and move towards the person to start a conversation.  
  • Create a positive impression and positive vibes.   
  • Be generous to compliment people.  Avoid usage of negative words and adjectives. Instead, use positive words and the right adjectives to impact others. Mark Twain rightly remarked, “A man’s character may be learned from the adjectives which he habitually uses in conversation.”  
  • Make small talk and demonstrate your authenticity to listen and converse. 
  • Create a common ground to continue your conversation. 
  • Avoid asking personal questions about marital status and salary. Draw a line clearly and be within it before you create your conversation. 
  • Avoid asking close-ended questions that involve a one-word response. Instead, ask open-ended questions to enable the person to open up and communicate. 
  • Ask general and neutral questions. Don’t bombard with too many probing questions that sound interrogating people. 
  • Encourage them to talk about themselves. Dale Carnegie rightly remarked, “Talk to someone about themselves and they’ll listen for hours.”  
  • Don’t offer unsolicited advice. You must build your credibility before you offer your advice to others. 
  • Choose neutral topics that suit people irrespective of gender and community. Stay away from gender, religious and political aspects to avoid controversies.  
  • Keep cultural aspects in view when you converse with strangers to avoid being misunderstood. 
  • Use your presence of mind to exit from the conversation if it is leading to controversies.  
  • If you are good at humor, use it to make the person laugh. But don’t experiment if you are not an expert in humor because it boomerangs. 
  • Stick to ethics and etiquette to create an everlasting impression on others. Your quality of conversation is more important than the quantity of conversation.

When you talk to people, you learn something from them. You can also help them by sharing your expertise and experience. When you speak more, you listen less. When you speak less, you listen more. Hence, encourage the person to speak so that you can listen. Instead of seeking your approval and validation, identify positive traits in others, enlighten and elevate them. Approve and validate them to enhance your influence and impact. 

“A single conversation across the table with a wise man is better than ten years mere study of books.” ―Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Life is an experiment!

I am not a party animal. I rarely socialize with others because my passion for writing books takes a lot of time. At times, I find it difficult to get along with women. When I analyzed the reasons, I realized that it is due to my military background. I served in Indian Air Force where I interacted with men, not women. I still feel shy to interact with women. I tried to interact with women but I found it challenging. Most times, I fear being misunderstood by them.

If you fail to connect with a specific stranger, don’t lose your heart. Try to converse with another stranger. Some people are not keen to converse because of their attitude, nature, and moods. They may be dis-interested to talk to you due to perceptions. 

I am not a technology expert and I am keen to update myself. Hence, when I find young people in the gym and other places, I talk to them to understand the technology and how it is revolutionizing the world. I seek their advice to connect with them. In this way, I update myself on technology and give importance to the person. I personally opine that millennials are often misunderstood as lazy people. But the fact is that they are undoubtedly smart and brilliant and follow the road less traveled.

Fear of failure, rejection, and criticism are the main reasons why people often don’t converse with others. Life is an experiment and you must learn by trial and error method. There is nothing wrong with experimenting to lead an exciting life. If you succeed, you influence others otherwise you learn a lesson. Hence, don’t hesitate to talk to strangers. However, keep the cultural and gender aspects in view when you converse with others. 

Technology cannot replace human relations

With growing technology, people are busy with their gadgets rather than interacting with others. There is less social interaction and more social media interaction. Probably the millennials presently and the people in the future will find it challenging to get along with people. It appears that friendship will become a rare commodity in the future as people make gadgets as their friends. It is time they changed their mindset by preferring human relations to digital relations. 

It is time we emphasized social interaction and created meaningful conversations to build bridges with others. To summarize, the conversation is an art and craft that can be learned easily. It is not a talent but a skill that can be honed if you are passionate about networking and building relations. Every professional must converse and communicate with others. Hence, cultivate this art and craft to connect with others instantly to influence and inspire them to excel as leaders. 

Professor M.S. Rao, Ph.D. is the Father of “Soft Leadership” and the Founder of MSR Leadership Consultants, India. He is an International Leadership Guru with forty years of experience and the author of fifty books including the award-winning ‘See the Light in You’ URL: https://www.amazon.com/See-Light-You-Spiritual-Mindfulness/dp/1949003132. He is a C-Suite advisor and global keynote speaker. He brings a strategic eye and long-range vision given his multifaceted professional experience including military, teaching, training, research, consultancy, and philosophy. He is passionate about serving and making a difference in the lives of others. He is a regular contributor to Entrepreneur Magazine. He trains a new generation of leaders through leadership education and publications.

Success Advice

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As another cat video is served to me in my Reels on Facebook, I am beginning to wonder if this platform can still serve to attract clients to my coaching business. And as the wondering turns into worrying, I feel a pressing need to make some vital changes to what worked for my solopreneur business for half a decade. (more…)

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When we hear that leaders should operate within their zone(s) of genius, it’s easy to think that this only applies to tasks that they excel at. Whilst this is true, the piece of the puzzle that is often overlooked is the positive correlation between a leader’s zone of genius and their leadership style. (more…)

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5 Simple Habits to Live A Less Chaotic, Happier Life

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Many of us spend our daily lives searching for happiness. We jump from one job to another, from one hobby to another, hoping to spark a sense of joy and purpose.

But it’s hard pursuing happiness. After all, life is full of frustration and can put a stopper to our feel-good days.

And it’s challenging to be happy when we are juggling the responsibilities of everyday life like work and relationships. While achieving happiness is arduous, it’s not impossible. Try out these 5 habits to enjoy life more and be happier.

1. Walk in Nature

Spending time in nature has always improved my mood. Taking a walk around my neighborhood park, surrounded by trees and vegetation, I enter a peaceful state of mind.

The worries previously weighing on my mind are suddenly lifted, and I feel an indescribable sense of joy.

Taking just 20 minutes out of my day to get a fresh breath of air is extremely relaxing. 

In our work culture that favors busyness, there is little room for calmness. We associate a busy schedule with how successful we are, which isn’t entirely true at all.

In fact, it might be a disaster in the making. All that stress and anxiety bottled up without an outlet—the outcome is obvious.

So getting in touch with nature is my go-to way of maintaining a proper work-life balance. It makes me energized and ready to blast through the rest of my day with optimism.

2. Smile More Often

I make it a habit to smile every day; they aren’t fake smiles but genuine ones. And they have become a regular part of my life.

What am I smiling at, exactly? It can be the night sky covered with shining stars, like fine quicksand. Or, it can be the flowers sprouting new leaves in spring.

I embrace everything with open arms. Even when I have a rainy day, I don’t let it ruin my momentum.

Regardless of what happens, a simple smile can brighten my day; and best yet, it’s completely free.

At some point, everyone can have a stressful day and feel burned out. So put up a smile. Even if you’re not a positive person, take a firm stance against negativity. Your daily life will surely burst with joy.

“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” – Dalai Lama

3. Find Your Passion

Many people dive headfirst into a day job that doesn’t interest them. They do it just for the money, which only makes them more miserable.

People who aren’t attached to their work will find difficulty achieving happiness. They live in a gray and stale world devoid of positivity.

Listen to your heart. Ask yourself: What makes me feel enthusiastic and excited? This is a time to discover your hopes and dreams.

You have endless opportunities in this world. Start a business. Volunteer at a charity drive. Figure out your reason why.

Personally, I used to turn to real estate to earn dependable rental income. But there was no sense of fulfillment. That feeling soon reached a tipping point, which pushed me to re-prioritize everything.

I wanted to make a positive impact on people’s lives. Combining my interest in business and self-improvement, I pursued my passion for blogging. And I can’t be any happier about it.

Everyone needs something that keeps their life meaningful. It can be a source of light that helps us walk in the right direction.

So having goals and dreams makes us genuinely happy. Without them, it will be a long, treacherous journey.

4. Practice Gratitude

Some days we may not feel a shred of gratitude. We are overwhelmed with the hustle and bustle of life where we seek perfection, one that is only full of success and wins.

However, that will only put you further away from happiness.

Take the time every day to pause and appreciate something in your life. What I find helpful is sitting down with a pen and paper.

I start with “I am grateful for…” It can be the appreciation for my afternoon cup of herbal tea. It can be the clear blue sky on a sunny day.

This routine sets up a support system that reinforces positive emotions. It reminds me that there are many things I’ve experienced in life and even more things that I’m grateful for.

Even if I have a bad day, I try my best to be grateful and encourage lasting joy.

So appreciate everything that enters your life—all the good and bad. You will see your mood elevate to an entirely new level.

5. Create Memories With Loved Ones

It can be tempting to focus all our time and energy on reaching valued goals. We say, “I’ll take it easy and spend time with loved ones after I’m successful.”

But what if that time never comes? What if, at some point, your loved ones are suddenly gone?

Don’t wait until it’s too late. Prioritize your loved ones today, not next year. After all, you wouldn’t want to leave any room for regret.

The cherished memories you make now will be a spark of joy. They can even be a source of motivation when shooting for goals.

As social creatures, sharing stories, feelings, and dreams can make us happy and fulfilled.

Living a solitary life is not for everyone. Although having some alone time is perfectly fine, you should still make memorable experiences with those close to you. They will be cherished within your heart for as long as you live.

The quest for lasting happiness can be daunting at times. We spend much of our time searching for it, almost giving up along the way.

But you need to see the bright side. Living a better and happier life isn’t a far-fetched dream; it’s within reach. Remember that happiness can come from the small habits and things you do daily.

If you want to lead the life you truly want, practice these 5 habits and be consistent every day. Don’t give up halfway. Once you do so, there will be nothing stopping you from enjoying life to the fullest.

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Success Advice

Avoid These 12 Mistakes on the Way to Success

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